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The impact of mineral nutrients in food crops on global human health

Authors
  • Welch, Ross. M.1
  • 1 Cornell University, USDA, ARS, U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, Tower Road, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA , Ithaca
Type
Published Article
Journal
Plant and Soil
Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2002
Volume
247
Issue
1
Pages
83–90
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1023/A:1021140122921
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Nutrient sufficiency is the basis of good health, productive lives and longevity for everyone. Nutrient availability to people is primarily determined by the output of foods produced from agricultural systems. If agricultural systems fail to provide enough food diversity and quantity to satisfy all the nutrients essential to human life, people will suffer, societies will deteriorate and national development efforts will stagnate. Importantly, plant foods provide most of the nutrients that feed the developing world. Unfortunately, as a result of population pressures, many global food systems are not currently providing enough micronutrients to assure adequate micronutrient intakes for all people. This has resulted in an increasing prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies (e.g., iron deficiency, vitamin A deficiency, and iodine deficiency disorders) that now afflicts over three billion people globally mostly among resource-poor women, infants and children in developing countries. The consequences of micronutrient malnutrition are profound and alarming for human existence. Agricultural approaches to finding sustainable solutions to this problem are urgently needed. This review presents some ways in which plant nutritionists can contribute to preventing micronutrient malnutrition in sustainable ways.

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